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December Star of the Month: BARBARA STANWYCK

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> {quote:title=Filmgoddess wrote:}{quote}

> Totally agree about Gwenn here.

>

> As for Bette, she was only very good when she stuck to that one line of performance she did best: the female melodrama. Get her outside of that, and forget it. Even some of those she did were awful.

>

> At her best, no one could touch her. But that's only a handful of performances. She became a caricature at some point. There's a reason she's a favorite of drag queens. She became so "unnatural." There's also a reason drag queens don't do Stanwyck. No mannerisms, no over-the-top stuff. Just natural authenticity.

>

> Imagine Bette in a noir? No way. In a comedy? Never. When she did them, she wasn't funny. Everyone else was. Can you imagine Bette in a western? Nope but Stanwyck did them all and was magnificent in them.

>

> I'd take Bette at her best anyday, but Stanwyck's library is much richer and, therefore, there is so much more to enjoy there.

Agreed -- for sheer versatility, nobody beat Stanwyck, which is why she is now more appreciated than she was during her lifetime. She may not have been the best practitioner of any specific genre -- for example, in comedies, her work was nowhere as good as that of Lombard (at one stylistic extreme) or Loy (at the other) -- but in her overall work, Barbara could go places that neither Carole nor Myrna would have dreamed of going (and I think that would have been the case even if Lombard had lived to have a full career). The only genre where Stanwyck may have reigned supreme was in film noir, but there are several other worthy candidates such as Gloria Grahame, Jane Greer and Lizabeth Scott.

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Hi Eugenia,

 

Thank you for mentioning George Brent in "The Rains Came"...

I think it's his best performance; and after seeing him and ignoring him mostly in several films before, I actually sat up and took notice of him here. Enjoyed him greatly in this movie.

 

Of course, everyone else in it was excellent too... Mary Nash needs special notice!

 

But, please don't let me derail this thread - although I already have...

 

Sorry - - back to Barbara Stanwyck, a great star and fine actress (a rarity in Hollywood, then and especially now!!)......

 

Larry

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Yes, this was a surprise for me, too, Larry. I wonder why he couldn't have done a better job opposite Stanwyck and Davis. I know, he was a dependable leading man and was needed in Hollywood, but as for Stanwyck co-stars I more prefer actors like Joel McCrea and Henry Fonda (I'm sure I can think of others, but I'm in a hurry right now), where there is much more of a give-and-take chemistry. Can you see Brent as Hopsie Pike in *The Lady Eve*? Nah.

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I would actually nominate Ginger Rogers as an actress whose versatility rivaled Stanwyck's- only Rogers was *nowhere near* as smart about her career choices or as bold in her later performances as Stanwyck. I actually think Rogers *could* have pulled off Ball of Fire (which she stupidly turned down), Sorry, Wrong Number, Stella Dallas, Lady Eve and (don't laugh) even Double Indeminity. She had the talent, but lacked the savvy/guts/luck(?) that Stanwyck did.

 

Edited by: AddisonDeWitless on Dec 28, 2012 12:22 PM

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*I would actually nominate Ginger Rogers as an actress whose versatility rivaled Stanwyck's- only Rogers was nowhere near as smart about her career choices or as bold in her later performances as Stanwyck. I actually think Rogers could have pulled off Ball of Fire (which she stupidly turned down), Sorry, Wrong Number, Stella Dallas, Lady Eve and (don't laugh) even Double Indeminity. She had the talent, but lacked the savvy/guts/luck(?) that Stanwyck did.*

 

Rogers could have easily done *Lady of Burlesque*, too. *DI* would be a stretch for me, but I promise, I didn't laugh. ;) Stella Dallas? Well, I don't know. You may be right, but I adore Stanwyck in this movie. SD is incredibly dated today, but I love Stanwyck's performance in it. A lot of people talk about Stella's gaudiness and cheapness later in the film but even when she was at her worst, dressed in those outfits as she tried to fit in with the wealthy, I saw a kind of "innocence" underneath, a heart that was lacking in the snobs. And that train scene!

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I agree with the take here as it relates to Bette and Babs. The things mentioned here are the reason Bette is my favorite and Babs is second.

 

Why that order? Well this line says it all:

I'd take Bette at her best anyday, but Stanwyck's library is much richer and, therefore, there is so much more to enjoy there.

 

 

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Addison: your post actually made me laugh out loud that I spit out my coffee. I don't even think of Ginger Rogers as an actress. She's a star, a personality. I don't think she could "act" her way out of wet paper bag. Her Oscar for KITTY FOYLE rivals only Loretta Young's win for most ludicrous Oscar win of the 1940s. I don't get this post at all unless it was meant tongue in cheek.

 

She couldn't have done a single one of those roles. Every time she "tried" to act you got something like MAJOR AND THE MINOR or her hilarious -- unintentional -- rendition of La Marseillese in BARKLEY's of BROADWAY which is supposed to convince us what a serious actress she was.

 

She was a GREAT star. She was never a great actress. Not by a long shot.

 

 

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Yes, you could go on and on and you still wouldn't actually be saying anything. You keep repeating the same thing ... false move, blah, blah but refuse to give a single example. That makes me think you're just being contrary or whatever but I guess it isn't really worth responding to since it makes no sense.

 

Ciao.

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"Given suitable roles?" Great actors take roles in lesser movies and turn them into gold like both Stanwyck and Crawford did during the 1950s. Davis took roles in lesser movies and turned them into even lesser films. You weren't "given" films in the 1950s. You went after them. But she wasn't getting good jobs because she had become such a gorgon, both on and off the screen.

 

 

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Pretty much agree with you here. Except I do think she was the premiere Noir actress. Lizabeth Scott just had one emotion and even that one was dull. I often wonder what Greer would have done if she'd gotten more roles and hadn't petered out. Grahame could play cheap better than almost anyone but that's all she had so it limited her.

 

 

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I like Brent in MY REPUTATION. It's her picture so you need a leading man who isn't going to steal any spotlight. He fills the bill.

 

I also like him in IN THIS OUR LIFE, a film apparently only liked by me.

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Eugenia: I'm curious as to what about STELLA DALLAS you find dated? It's certainly anachronistic but I don't find anything dated about it. It's of its time which, of course, is not what dated is all about.

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Babs? Egads.

 

Unfortunately, I'd only get to see around 5 films if I counted Bette Davis number one. With Stanwayck, I get to see around 40. Case closed.

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*Eugenia: I'm curious as to what about STELLA DALLAS you find dated? It's certainly anachronistic but I don't find anything dated about it. It's of its time which, of course, is not what dated is all about.*

 

Maybe 'anachronistic' is a better word. I don't see a movie like that being popular today, whereas I think a movie like *The Lady Eve* could play well today. I got a couple of friends of mine, who usually only like modern films, to watch TLE and they loved it.

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Note that I save 4 key strokes by using Babs. This was a common nickname for her and one her fans should be aware of.

 

I don't know what 'case' you're talking about, but it could be interpreted as saying that the opinions of others are bogus. i.e. that someone that favors Davis over Stanwyck as their favorite actress is full of it.

 

 

 

 

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Nah, I can't think of more than 3 or 4 films made in the 30s or 40s that would be popular today. Maybe not even that many.

 

Today's filmgoers, for the most part, are not interested in that kind of stuff. They want action, lots of nudity, four letter words, and stars who are hot but can't. Not too much of that in the 30s and 40s. That's why we have TCM!

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Sorry, but as someone who knew Stanwyck for 30 years, "Babs" was never a nickname anyone used for her and she would never have allowed anyone to use it. Just like Elizabeth Taylor was never referred to as "Liz" except the ignorant and those who wanted to seem familiar but really weren't.

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Well, I thought "Eve" would be popular today because of the steamy seduction scene but, yeah, in 2012 the characters would probably need to be naked. ;)

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People in their 20s and 30s would be totally bored -- as hard as it is to believe -- in that seduction scene. That scene -- to me -- is so hot that I need to take a cold shower after seeing it. But today, they'd have to have their clothes off, the actress would have to have enhanced breasts that heave, and the actor would have to have a six pack with huge pecs that the leading lady could lick ....

 

Takes all the fun and joy out of it, doesn't it?

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ROTFLAMAO. Now that's hysterical. The funniest comment I've ever read on these boards.

 

Let's see she made some successful comedies and some successful musicals -- never had a successful film in any othe genre.

 

Now THAT"s versatile! LOL.

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